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College conducts project, gathers well water samples

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News from Salish Kootenai College

PABLO — Salish Kootenai College Life Science Program is conducting a research project testing well water on the Flathead reservation to promote drinking water safety and to benefit local communities. 

There have been past reports showing traces of arsenic in the drinking water in surrounding areas. The science research team is conducting water tests to determine if there are health risks present from arsenic contamination in water wells. 

Free water testing will be offered to all volunteers who will allow the science research team to collect a water sample.

The collection process is simple and quick; the collection bottle is rinsed three times and then a half-liter bottle is filled with drinking water, and then a few drops of acid is added to stabilize the sample.

After analyzing the samples, the results will be sent back to the volunteers, letting them know how the arsenic in their water compares to the EPA’s recommended levels and the science team will be available to answer any questions the volunteers have.

The free water sample collection testing will be held on April 27 in Dixon, Charlo, and Moiese; May 4 in Hot Springs and surrounding areas; May 11 in Elmo and surrounding areas; May 18 in Arlee and St. Ignatius; and May 25 in Pablo, Polson, and Ronan. 

The science team will be collecting samples until August. If the listed day for collecting samples is missed, a volunteer can contact the science team and arrange another sample collection date. Those interested in taking part in the study and having well water tested for free, contact Jesse Stine at Salish Kootenai College, Department of Life Science at 406-275-4849 or

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